Planned PEThood Blog

Keep Your Pets Safe This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a holiday that brings friends and family together. Thanksgiving can carry some hazards for our pets, ranging from food to company, to travel. While it’s tempting to include our furry friends in this celebration, it’s best to leave them out of the festivities or include pet-specific activities and treats.

Here are a few tips to help make the holiday as pet-friendly as possible and keep your pets healthy and safe:

Food: Thanksgiving is all about food, but not all human food is safe for pets. Here are a few common Thanksgiving foods to keep an eye on. If you have Thanksgiving guests, ask that they don’t feed your pets. It could save your pet’s life!

  1. Turkey Bones. They can be a choking hazard and can damage your pet’s digestive tract. No matter how much they beg, say no!
  2. Fatty Foods. Items such as butter, cream, gravy, bacon, and turkey skin, are hard for pets to digest. They can cause a painful and serious condition known as pancreatitis, inflammation of the pancreas.
  3. Human Foods. Foods that are perfectly safe for humans, such as garlic, onions, raisins, and grapes are poisonous to pets. Bread dough and yeast dough can cause painful gas and even dangerous bloating. To be safe, avoid giving your pet any human foods and buy them a special pet-specific treat instead at your local pet store.
  4. Chocolate and Sugar. Most people know chocolate is bad for dogs and cats, but artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol, can be dangerous if consumed by your pets, so avoid these as well. These are even in many peanut butter brands these days.
  5. Cover the Trash. Put the trash away, where your pets can’t find it. Cover the trash in a tightly secured trash bag, and place it in a closed trashcan where your furry friend can’t access it. All your hard work keeping them safe can be undone by a quick trip in the trash.

Flowers and Plants: Lots of people buy decorative arrangements, plants, and flowers around Thanksgiving. Be careful with these as some flowers and plants can be toxic to pets. The ASPCA has lists of plants that are toxic to both dogs and cats. To be safe, keep your pets away from all plants and floral arrangements.

Guests: If you are hosting or having overnight guests for Thanksgiving, plan ahead to keep your pets safe. Unfamiliar visitors can be stressful for everyone.

  1. If you know your cat or dog is nervous when people visit your home, put him/her in another room or crate with their favorite toy. This will help reduce the emotional stress of your pet.
  2. Even if your pets are comfortable around guests, watch the exits, especially when people are entering or leaving. Your four-legged friend may make a break for it out the door when you are greeting guests.
  3. Make sure your pet has proper identification with your current contact information. This includes both microchips and tags. This way, if your pet does sneak out, they’re more likely to be returned to you.

Traveling with Your Pet: If you are traveling with your pets for Thanksgiving, be sure to take precautions.

  1. Never leave your pets alone in vehicles, even for a short time.
  2. Remember to pack for your pets – any medication, food, identification information, toys, etc.
  3. If you are driving a far distance, stop regularly so that your pet can stretch their legs, go potty, and have a drink of water.

Thanksgiving and pets go hand in hand – after all, we’re forever thankful for our furry family members. That’s why it’s a good idea to follow these tips and make your Thanksgiving as pet-friendly as possible.

Source: American Veterinary Medical Association Thanksgiving Pet Safety

Originally Published: November 16, 2022